Energy Efficiency and the US Window Industry
Energy efficiency has been a hot topic for years, but the core issues boil down to reducing energy consumption to cut utility costs while at the same time doing your bit for the environment. It’s true that not everyone is keen on the latter, but the chance to save hundreds of dollars every year has proven to be incentive enough for most property owners.
US Energy Efficiency Initiatives
The organization in charge of most energy efficiency initiatives in the US is the Department of Energy. Their goal is to improve the country’s energy performance by developing and demonstrating advanced technologies for energy efficiency. They explore and refine best practices which are relayed to interested parties who can contribute to making the nation’s homes and buildings more efficient, comfortable, and affordable.
To implement their energy efficiency initiatives, the DOE works with state and local governments as well as with nonprofit groups and utilities, all of whom encourage property owners to take that all-important first step towards incorporating energy-efficient technologies in their homes.
The Window Industry: More than Just Contractors
There are a lot of different ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, depending on what you want to focus on: roofing, siding, insulation, appliances, you name it.One of the parts of your home that offers the biggest potential for payoff is your windows, and the US window industry is well aware of this.
The DOE has training programs designed specifically for window installation and repair professionals.Contractors who have the initiative to attend these programs are better able to make their clients’ homes more energy efficient. But your contractor’s skills and technical knowhow are really just one part of the big picture.
The other part, the fenestration products you use in your home,is just as important. The combination of products like low-emissivity glass windows with the proper installation methods are what will guarantee the highest level of energy efficiency possible for your property.
The Role of Low-Emissivity Glass
Though fairly new in the market, low-emissivity (low-e) glass has revolutionized energy efficiency in the window industry. Emissivity refers to a material’s ability to reradiate energy.
Designed to minimize the levels of infrared and ultraviolet light that can pass through your windows, low-e glass makes it possible for you to enjoy as much natural light as you want without raising indoor temperatures and overtaxing your cooling system. An overworked HVAC system not only consumes a lot of energy and drives up your utility bills, but also has a much shorter service life than an HVAC system allowed to operate at peak efficiency.
How does low-e glass work?
The most crucial component of low-e glass is a film no thicker than a strand of human hair. This film bounces back heat energy from inside and outside your property, giving it the ability to stabilize temperatures on both sides. Long story short, it keeps indoor heat in and outdoor heat out.
By virtue of this ability, low-e glass makes it possible for you to cut your heating and cooling costs by up to 35% on average.
Is low-e glass the right choice for your home?
The short answer is yes, low-e glass is a good choice for every home. If your windows are due for replacement, why not choose windows that offer better performance than your old ones? If you’re shopping for windows for a new build, why not invest in products that will not only last for years but will also help you save on energy costs from the get-go?
More and more homeowners are starting to pay attention to energy-efficient windows and their many benefits.This is one trend we hope will stick around for good.
Bob Sheehan is a professional contractor based in Kansas and the owner of Renewal by Andersen of Kansas City. He is very passionate about what he does and loves to share his experiences to other people.